logo image for top of page

a core project of

Ice Sheet MIP for CMIP6 Meeting 
Venue: NASA GSFC, Greenbelt, MD, USA 
Dates: 16-18th July, 2014

Meeting Organizers: Sophie Nowicki (GSFC), Tony Payne (University of Bristol), and Eric Larour (JPL).

The sea-level projections made by the glaciological community as part of the IPCC process have often been out of phase with the projections considered by the wider CMIP community. For instance in AR5, the ice2sea and SeaRISE ice sheet projects predominantly worked with AR4 scenarios, while the CMIP5 community used new RCP scenarios. A primary focus of this meeting is therefore to develop a plan that will allow ice sheet and glacier models to be better integrated in the CMIP6 initiative, in order to improve both sea level projections due to changes in the cryosphere and our understanding of the cryosphere in a changing climate. These goals map into the Cryosphere Grand Challenge and the Sea-Level Rise Grand Challenge relevant to CliC and the WCRP. Participation is by invitation only, and will primarily include ice sheet and Earth system model development and analysis leaders, representatives of MIPs that are relevant to the cryosphere and observation data set providers. If you would like to be invited to the meeting or if you would like to join the meeting remotely, the first session will be shared via webex for the images and telecom for the sound, please email Sophie Nowicki

The meeting goal is to develop an Ice Sheet MIP proposal for participation in the CMIP6 initiative.

Meeting Objectives
  • Assess the utility of the current CMIP5 variables over ice sheets, including formatting, documentation, temporal and spatial resolution. Identify which variables are lacking in the current CMIP5 for our purpose and provide recommendation to CMIP6 for additional variables. 
  • Identify which experiment in the proposed CMIP6 DECK experiment should become the primary focus of the MIP for fully coupled ice sheet - climate models (and how to include feedback for ice models that would be forced “offline”).
  • Identify whether additional experiments should be proposed in CMIP6.
  • Identify preliminary sensitivity experiments that focus on understanding the source of diversity in modeled responses and feedbacks, towards reducing the uncertainty in sea-level projections. (For examples, how do different beds of initialization methods affect the projections). 
  • Identify valuable satellite observations and field measurements for model initialization, evaluation and process understanding.
  • Draft a MIP template for consideration into endorsement by CMIP6.

Wednesday 16th July

Time Event Location
8.00-9.30 Registration and badge collection. Account for at least 30 min for your badge, and 10 min to get to B33. There will be coffee in the room adjacent to H114 Main Gate & Room H114, B33
9.30-12.00 Introduction and aims H114, B33
12.00-13.00 Lunch  


(1 hr breakout & 1 hr report back)

Breakout session on ‘A. Mechanics of coupled simulations’ H114, B33
15.00-15.30 Tea  


(1hr breakout & 1 hr report back)

Breakout session on ‘B. Missing physics + numerics & their impact on cryospheric and  SL projections’ H114, B33
18:00 IceBreaker Chevy’s


Thursday 17th July

Time Event Location


(1hr breakout & 1 hr report back)

Breakout session on ‘C. MIP experimental design’ + report back from C. H114, B33
10.30-11.00 Coffee  
11.00-12.00 Breakout session on ‘D. Data sets’ H114, B33
12.30-13.00 Lunch  
13.00-15.00  Report back from D + discussion of where we are + identify the experiments. H114, B33
15.00-15.30 Tea  
15.30-17.30 Breakout E: ‘More focussed experiment design + Links to CMIP’  

A209 etc 


Friday 18th July

Time Event Location
 8.30-10.30 Report back from E. & Write up of MIP H114, B33
10.30-11.00 Coffee  
11.00-13.00 Governance + Continue Write up + Wrap up H114, B33
  Meeting ends  

Breakout sessions will run in parallel and consist of small groups ~6-10 participants. They will normally be split between Greenland, Antarctica and global glaciers, although for some topics other groupings may be necessary. Each breakout will be introduced in plenary by a couple of 10-15 minute talks to give background, highlight key issues and set objectives. Plenary report back sessions will contain a brief summary from each breakout group’s rapporteur followed by synthesis. We will also have additional rooms available, but our main home is H114 in Building 33 


Sessions and Topics

Session Topic  
Introduction and aims
  • Welcome + Meeting objectives
  • Introduction to CMIP
  • Links to other activities: 
  • Lessons learnt from SEARISE and ice2sea
A. Mechanics of coupled simulations

How close are we to having models that could run as part of a CMIP-style ESM? And how suitable are CMIP models over the cryosphere?

  • How many AOGCMs with coupled ice sheet could take part in a MIP? What intermediate configurations would work and how would feedbacks be included? (i.e.: driving ice sheet models “offline”)
  • How would the ice sheet model be initialized?
  • Is there scope for a separate AOGCM/RCM inter-comparison for SMB? or ocean circulation around the ice sheets? 
  • Should we have separate global glacier, Greenland and Antarctic efforts?
  • Greenland - What do we do about fjords? etc
  • Antarctica - Is the simulation of the Southern Ocean good enough to provide adequate forcing? etc
  • What other AOGCM forcing will be required and how crucial is its quality, spatial and temporal resolutions? (i.e.: are there any variable lacking in the current CMIP5 output set for our purpose? Are they of the right spatial, temporal resolutions? Should AOGCMs fields be downscaled and how? (see: data described in Amon, Lmon, OImon and LImon at http://cmip-pcmdi.llnl.gov/cmip5/data_description.html)
B. Missing physics + numerics & their impact on cryospheric and SL projections

What are the major obstacles to credible projections of the cryospheric components of sea level?

  • What physics are missing from models that could be used for projections? 
  • Are there numerical issues that also need to be resolved in both ice-flow and climate models? 
  • Is there a role for parameterizations in bridging some of these gaps? How could these parameterizations be tested?
  • Is there a need for preliminary inter-comparisons to test suitability of models for inclusion in full MIP?
  • Greenland. Will we have a credible model of iceberg calving and marine melt of tidewater glaciers? How to cope with uncertainties in bedrock topography, ice rheology, basal slipperiness? Etc
  • Antarctica. How to cope with uncertainties in bedrock topography, ice rheology, basal slipperiness, marine melt etc all of which may be important for grounding line retreat? Etc
 C. MIP experimental design

What type of experiments could we tackle?

  • Which experiment(s) out of the proposed 5 CMIP DECK experiments should become the focus of our effort? (i.e.: if running only one experiment with a fully-coupled system and repeating with ice sheets driven offline)
  • Should we suggest an additional experiment to CMIP6?
  • What are the synergies with other MIPs?
  • What time scales are of most interest for future work? 
  • What periods would be of interest for simulations of past climate (pre-industrial, Eemian?)
  • How can we augment on the suite of CMIP DECK experiments?
  • How can we explore parameter uncertainty?
  • Are there sensitivity experiments that can investigate the origin and consequence of systematic model bias? Should we have experiments that focus on understanding the source of diversity in modeled responses and feedbacks, towards reducing the uncertainty in sea-level projections? (For example: how do different beds and initialization methods affect the projections)
  • How can we maximize the combination of whole ice sheet models & flowband models?
  • What other approaches could be used for projecting changes in the cryosphere and sea-level?
D. Data sets

What data set are needed (model+observations)?

  • What observational data should we use to initialize the models and for the experiments? (velocities, bedrock topography, geothermal heat-flux etc) 
  • What data should we use to test and validate the models? Both in terms of glaciological observations and climate forcing. 
  • Could we use reanalysis for driving “offline” simulations? 
  • How do we standardize the test data sets?
  • What fields need to be saved from ice sheet models?
E. Links to CMIP & Write up of MIP

What type of experiments are we tackling, and how will this happen?

  • Name for the project
  • Governance
  • Overview of proposed experiments design & evaluation & analysis.
  • Science question –or gap- being addressed with these experiments.
  • What climate variables would be predicted and what would be required from CMIP AOGCMs?
Tolly Aðalgeirsdóttir University of Iceland, Iceland
Andy Aschwanden University of Alaska, USA
Doug Brinkerhoff The University of Montana, USA
Joel Brown The University of Montana, USA
Bea Csatho University of Buffalo, USA
Richard Cullather  NASA GSFC, USA 
Gael Durand  LGGE, France [Presentation] [Presentation]
Tamsin Edwards  University of Bristol, UK 
Jeremy Fyke  LANL, USA 
Olivier Gagliardini  LGGE, France 
Heiko Goezler Vrije Universiteit Brissel, Belgium
Patrick Heimbach  MIT, USA [Presentation]
Hartmut Hellmer  AWI, Germany 
Ute Herzfeld  University of Colorado, USA 
Richard Hindmarsh  BAS, UK 
Regine Hock  University of Alaska, USA 
Charles Jackson  The University of Texas at Austin USA 
Jesse Johnson  The University of Montana, USA 
Eric Larour  NASA JPL, USA 
Allegra LeGrande  NASA GISS, USA [Presentation]
Chris Little  Science and Technology, USA 
Dan Martin  Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA
Ben Marzeiom  University of Innsbruck, AT 
Ruth Mottram  DMI, DK [Presentation]
Sophie Nowicki  NASA GSFC, USA 
Byron Parizek  PSU, USA 
Tony Payne  University of Bristol, UK 
Kristin Poinar  University of Washington, USA
Jeff Ridley   Met Office, UK 
Olga Sergienko  Princeton University, USA 
Helene Seroussi  NASA JPL, USA 
Miren Vizcaino  University of Delft, NL
Tom Wagner  NASA HQ, USA 
Ryan Walker  NASA GSFC, USA 
Wei Li Wang   NASA GSFC, USA 
Ricarda Winkelmann  PIK DE 



Participants interested in telecom/video-teleconferencing

Stephen Cornford  University of Bristol, UK
Jim Fastook  University of Maine, USA 
Xavier Fettweis  Universite de Liege, Belguim 
Bob Fischer  NASA GISS, USA 
Greg Flato  CCCMA, CA  [Presentation]
David Holland  NYU, USA [Presentation]
Gerhard Krinner  LGGE, France 
Mathieu Morlinghem  University of California, Irvine, USA 
Frank Pattyn  ULB, Belgium 
Steve Price  LANL, USA 
Catherine Ritz  LGGE, France 
Christian Rodehacke  DMI, DK 
Gavin Schmidt  NASA GISS, USA 


Participants interested in being updated with the effort

Robert Bindschadler  NASA, USA 
Ayako Abe-Ouchi  The University of Tokyo, Japan 
Edward Bueler  University of Alaska, USA 
Jonathan Gregory  University of Reading/Met Office, UK 
Ralf Greve  Hokkaido University, Japan 
Philippe Huybrechts  Vrije Universiteit Brissel, Belgium 
Ian Joughin  University of Washington, USA 
Jan  Lenaert  IMAU, NL 
Anders Levermann  Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany 
William Lipscomb  LANL, USA 
Maria Martin  Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany 
David Pollard  PSU, USA 
Valentina Radic  The University of British Columbia, CA 
Eric Rignot  NASA JPL/ University of California, Irvine, USA 
Fuyuki Saito  Japan Agency for Marine-Earth, Japan 
Hakime Seddik  Hokkaido University, Japan 
Andy Shepherd  University of Leeds, UK 
Michiel van den Broeke  IMAU, NL 



Local information

Where to stay and how to get there:

The closest hotel is the Holiday Inn Greenbelt (7200 Hanover Drive, Greenbelt MD 20770) http://www.ihg.com/holidayinn/hotels/us/en/greenbelt/wasgb/hoteldetail Cost varies from $90-135 USD per night. The hotel does not provide transportation from any of the three Washington DC area airports (Baltimore-Washington International, Reagan National and Dulles International). There are various cheaper/slower and expensive/faster options from each.

Recommendations are (with estimated time and cost):

Baltimore-Washington International/BWI: Super Shuttle (1 hr. @$33) or Taxi (30 min. @ $45), or Train from New Carrollton Station, or B30 Metro Express to Greenbelt Metro (50min @ $6), and the Holiday Inn shuttle picks up for free at the Metro station.

Reagan National/DCA: Metro to Greenbelt station, then taxi (90 min. @$25)

Washington DC Dulles International/IAD: Washington Flyer Bus to West Falls Church Metro station, then Metro to Greenbelt Metro station, then taxi. (2 hrs. $35), or Super Shuttle (??hr @ $39)

More details are given on the Holiday Inn's website: http://www.ihg.com/holidayinn/hotels/us/en/greenbelt/wasgb/hoteldetail/directions

The Holiday Inn Greenbelt is about 5 min drive from NASA GSFC. The hotel can offer a free shuttle bus upon request to the main gate of GSFC, or participants will be able to share rides in rental cars/taxis.


No meals provided

No lunch will be provided during the meeting but there are cafeterias on the campus, and participants are welcome to bring their own food and eat at any of the picnic tables. There are several restaurants and other food options nearby on Greenbelt Road.